Despite a harvest boost, turnover and profits at Manor Fresh, the Lincolnshire-based supplier of potatoes to retail giant Marks & Spencer, have dropped. The company - with more than 170 staff at its base in Spalding - has reported a turnover of £ 57 million for the year to 28 April 2018, down from £ 59.2 million in the prior 12 months. The pre-tax profit of the business was £ 1.5m for the year, down from £1.6m.
The potato harvest in 2017 was estimated to be 6.04 million tons, compared to 5.2 million tons in 2016 and 5.4 million in 2015. The company said the increase was down to more favourable weather and climatic conditions during the summer and autumn.
A statement signed off by the board said: "Although an increasingly significant proportion of the UK fresh potato and processed potato supply volumes are now forward contracted by buyers on a fixed value and volume basis, the higher gross tonnage produced from the 2017 UK crop harvest did put downward pressure on non-contracted product prices in some sectors of the UK potato market.”
"Despite higher overall total gross potato yields produced during the 2017 UK potato harvest, the inherent quality and availability of certain top tier UK produced potato varieties, particularly Maris Piper, remained a significant sourcing challenge for higher quality retail outlets.”